Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Producer Prices Up (Adjusted) 1.7% in August

Producer Prices didn't get the memo from Mish, and rose (on a seasonally adjusted basis) 1.7% in August from the month before. Now you won't see a headline for this anywhere at CNBC (at least not as of 2 minutes ago). If you were curious as to what the PPI report said, you would have to click on this CNBC story announcing that the recession is over (not kidding, that was one of the bullet points from the main page) and then scroll down to the last two paragraphs of the article:
Separately, U.S. producer prices rose more than twice as much as expected in August on the biggest surge in gasoline prices in more than 10 years and prices declined less than expected compared with a year ago, the Labor Department said.

Prices paid at the farm and factory gate jumped 1.7 percent last month and fell 4.3 percent from August 2008. Analysts expected producer prices to rise 0.8 percent on the month and to fall 5.3 percent on the year.
Now as longtime Free Advice readers know, I trust the BLS as far as I can throw them. So I always like to analyze the non-adjusted price indices when they come out, to see how much hanky panky is going on with the adjustment.

Well I can't do that. I've gone to the BLS' press release, and I can't find out what the straight-up price increase was from July to August. It gives you how much the PPI went up (non-seasonally adjusted) from August 2008 to August 2009, but it doesn't tell me (as far as I can tell) what the one-month change was.

This is a relatively new thing. Up through the July report (i.e. containing the May-June increase), the PPI press release had a great table showing everything you would want to know. (Scroll down to Table 1 of that report to see what I mean.) But they stopped doing that last month, meaning you had to read the text to find the number.

But now in this month's report, I can't even find the number in the text. Am I just missing it?

UPDATE: They hadn't posted it this morning when I first blogged this, but now FRED has updated its PPI database with the August numbers [.txt]. They are showing a little less than a 1.4% jump in raw (non-seasonally adjusted) producer prices from July to August.

Table 1 in http://www.bls.gov/ppi/ppidr200908.pdf
The unadjusted PPI is up 1.0% from July to August and -4.3% yoy according to Table 1. The PPI All Commodities from FRED is a different index.
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